With so many exciting things to see and do you might find it hard to choose, especially if you’re just here for a short visit. Here are some recommendations to consider…
Visit the enigmatic Knysna forest
The indigenous Knysna Forest covers over 3000km² of the Garden Route. The forest and many nature reserves offer some of the most beautiful, enjoyable and even challenging trails for hikers, mountain bikers and trail runners. There are hundreds of trails to explore, dozens of picnic spots and many streams to cross. Keep your eyes open for bushbuck, troops of baboons, cape leopard, a wide selection of birds and, possibly, an elusive forest elephant.
Take to the water
The area’s stunning beaches, estuaries, lakes and rivers is the platform for a myriad of activities. Explore by boat, ferry, yacht, kayak or SUP and enjoy water-based sports like kite surfing and sailing. The variety of boat trips to choose from include fun, affordable trips to the Heads for the family, exciting trips through the Heads into the open sea for whale and dolphin watching, dinner cruises and luxury sundowner cruises with that someone special. Love swimming? There are many safe swimming spots so make sure to pack your swimsuit.
Explore Featherbed Nature Reserve
Featherbed Nature Reserve is a privately-owned, registered nature reserve and a South African Heritage Site. A pristine piece of paradise situated on the Western Head of Knysna, it is accessible by ferry only. The experience includes a trailer ride up the Western head with spectacular views over the ocean and the Knysna lagoon, an optional guided walk and their world renowned buffet lunch at the outdoor restaurant setting under a canopy of Milkwood trees.
Eat an oyster
As famous as the Knysna lagoon and the Knysna Heads, is the Knysna oyster. While these delicate, delicious molluscs are not commercially cultivated in Knysna anymore, they still propagate naturally in the rocky beds along the coast. Learn about the Knysna oyster before slurping down the real thing at one of the many restaurants that serve them. The best way to try them if it’s your first time? Simply with a squeeze of lemon and a drop of Tabasco sauce!
Explore the greater Knysna area
Knysna is surrounded by roaming countryside. Start exploring by driving to Rheenendal, about 20km west of Knysna. Visit the deserted gold mining town of Millwood and stop at quaint farm stalls for fresh produce and local preserves. Down to earth restaurants serve delicious breakfasts and lunches, and beautiful forest trails beckon hikers and MTB’ers. Rheenendal is a destination in its own right, and this delightful drive rambles through the forested area all the way to the start of the Seven Passes. From here you can drive to Sedgefield to explore the mosaic garden and miles of beaches.
Meet the elephants
Animal lovers should not miss a visit to the Knysna Elephant Park. The first facility to house and care for orphaned African Elephants in South Africa, the park offers visitors an unforgettable, educational experience. The park also hosts the first research and volunteer programme dedicated to optimising the welfare and management of captive wild elephants in the country, the African Elephant Research Unit.
It’s market day!
The Knysna area hosts the cream of the crop when it comes to markets in the Garden Route. From daily African art and craft markets on Knysna’s Memorial Square to seasonal, monthly or weekly markets selling all kinds of wares and fares, markets are popular events on the area’s calendar.
Knysna is one of South Africa’s top golfing destinations and boasts some world class golf courses with no less than three signature courses. Knysna is also ideally situated to use as a base while playing other famous courses along the Garden Route. Mossel Bay, George and Plettenberg Bay are all within easy reach of Knysna, with Mossel Bay being the furthest at 110km.
Spend a day on the beach
Greater Knysna has no less than 11 beaches! Whether your perfect beach day is a quiet one lounging in the sun, away from the crowds, or a beach packed with holiday goers swimming, surfing, running and cycling, Knysna caters for all. There are beaches perfect for long walks, great snorkelling spots and even entertainment after dark. Choose one or work your way through them all, you won’t be disappointed.
You’re on holiday, pamper yourself!
There are top-class salons and spas in Knysna and the surrounding areas. There’s nothing more indulgent than treating yourself to a soothing massage after (or before) a few days’ adventuring – it’s called self-care for a reason! Qualified, professional therapists treat their clients in tranquil havens – some of them with unbelievable views over the mountains, ocean or forest.